Napoli ‘will not rule out’ a legal battle with the Nigerian Federation after Victor Osimhen tested positive for COVID-19, potentially excluding him from Africa Cup of Nations duty.
The striker had returned home for the Christmas break and was meant to undergo a specialist check-up with doctor Gianpaolo Tartaro tomorrow in Naples, the surgeon who operated on his multiple facial fractures last month.
However, it was announced today that Osimhen tested positive for COVID-19 and was not allowed to board a plane towards Italy.
He also tested positive for COVID-19 when he went to Nigeria in December last year to celebrate his birthday.
Now Napoli aim to use the situation in order to force Nigeria to give up Osimhen for the Africa Cup of Nations, or at least leave him at the club until after the game with Juventus.
“With an agreement between Napoli and the Nigerian Federation, Osimhen could’ve played against Juventus on January 6 and then left immediately after the game,” club lawyer Enrico Lubrano told Radio Punto Nuovo.
“However, COVID complicates everything. The club can say the player is unavailable, but the situation must be verified by the Federation medic. What the FIFA rules do not state is the place where the medical verification is made.
“The FIFA rules note that if a player does not go on international duty because of injury, he cannot be used by his club during the same period that he would’ve played for his country, even if he recovers earlier.”
Lubrano was asked if there could potentially be a legal battle should Napoli ask for Osimhen to be examined by doctor Tartaro and Nigeria refuse to let him leave?
“It is a realistic scenario. Medicine is not an exact science, one doctor can say one thing and another medic give a different opinion.
“FIFA give the final word to the Nigerian Federation. We won’t rule out taking legal action against the Nigerian Federation, seeking compensation.”